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Monday, April 15, 2024

Four Korean-Americans advance to Congressional runoffs

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The primary elections ended on March 5. Candidates for November runoffs for key offices have been decided, and some local race winners have already been declared.

The day also marked “Super Tuesday,” when the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees are decided, so there was considerable interest in the election nationwide. With the rematch between incumbent President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, the race for the November general election has also intensified.

Korean-American candidates stood out in the primaries. In the two-candidate race for LA City Council District 12, incumbent Council member John Lee has already secured 64% of the vote and will not face a runoff.

L.A. 12th District Councilmember John Lee watches the vote count alongside campaign officials and supporters at the Odyssey restaurant in the Granada Hills neighborhood Tuesday night, celebrating his re-election victory. [Sangjin Kim, The Korea Daily]

Many other Korean-American candidates have made it to the runoffs. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Representatives Young Kim and Michelle Steel advanced to the general election with overwhelming support, positioning them to seek a third term.

Rep. Michelle Steel (45th District) won 56% of the vote, beating out four other Democratic candidates by a wide margin. Rep. Young Kim, who is running for the 40th Congressional District, which includes Orange County and parts of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, also advanced to the general election with 57% of the vote, defeating four Democratic challengers by a wide margin.

Dave Min, running for Congress in the 47th District, finished second to Republican Scott Baugh but secured a spot in the general election with 25 percent of the vote. Former California state representative Baugh garnered 33%. In the 34th District, which includes LA’s Koreatown, David Kim is trailing incumbent Jimmy Gomez with 25% of the vote but is projected to advance to the runoff. Rep. Gomez won 51%.

In OC’s 37th Senate District, Steven Choi (R) is behind incumbent Josh Newman (D) with 23% of the vote and is likely to advance to the general election. Newman won 30%.
In LA City Council District 10, which includes Koreatown, Grace Yoo is in second place with 26% of the vote and is likely to advance to the general election. However, she trails first-place Council member Heather Hutt by 10 percentage points.

Other Korean-American candidates for state legislative and judicial offices are also performing well.

This year’s elections demonstrate the rising political profile of the Korean-American community. In Southern California alone, the number of Korean-American candidates is the largest ever, resulting from the community’s continuous efforts to increase its political power.

Korean-Americans recognize the importance of political influence to advance their community’s interests. This is why we hope that the Korean-American candidates in the November runoffs will win. However, the candidates’ efforts alone cannot realize this dream. The active support of the Korean-American community is even more crucial in the runoff. Every voter needs to cast their ballot and support the Korean-American candidates. Political empowerment doesn’t just happen by itself.